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And that even though some people are going to gain much more than others, if you take a longer term time perspective--I don't think you quite get to a literal unanimity of all humans being better off.Say, some people who love power or who want to see the impoverishment of others--they'll be worse off. And without the environment working, none of this will be sustainable.Russ Roberts: So, I find the argument extremely compelling in many dimensions.I want to cast it in a different way, which is--I've used this in a couple of my books; I really think it's the right way to think about it--which is: If you asked a person in 1900 who suffered through economic change, who suffered through, say, the transformation of agriculture, the industrialization in the second half of the 19th century, there's a lot of hardship that that imposed.And once you adopt that move, the further-out future becomes very important for our deliberations.
There's positive time preference within a life, but over the course of generations no one is sitting around impatiently waiting to be born.
And what you are suggesting is that we ought to make sure that the pie grows as fast as it can grow going forward. It sounds very technocratic that we should just, 'Oh, let the economy grow as fast as possible; eventually everything will work out well.' A lot of people would find that unappealing, for one reason being it's mainly focusing on material well-being.
And I know you have an answer to that; so I want you to answer that. Tyler Cowen: Let me first say I do adopt the qualification that maximizing growth should be subject to respecting human rights; and some human rights are absolute.
Russ Roberts: Why is it important have a high standard of living?
That sounds like a very--I know you have a much richer conception of that idea, but to most people that sounds very--it's something an economist would say who doesn't have much understanding about the human experience.